Happy Friday my pumpkins! Today, I am sharing with you the issue of inclusivity in the beauty industry (makeup and skincare). I know that I am not best suited to talk about this issue considering that I am not black or a person of color but I definitely want to use my privilege for the better. I want to educate others and I want to learn how to become a better ally to black people and to people of color in general.
Also, I know that inclusivity is a very wide subject, especially in the beauty industry. So, I definitely think I will do a part 2 just to cover everything so stay tuned for that!
Now if you want to know more about the issue of inclusivity in the beauty industry, then keep on reading! Don’t forget to check out my previous post: BRAND REVIEW // Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez.
Inclusivity in the beauty industry
“For too long black women have been ignored by beauty brands. So, we built a billion-dollar industry for ourselves” (Holmes, 2019).
The reality is that black women spend 80% more on cosmetics than non-black consumers and yet are constantly overlooked and ignored by makeup brands. According to Holmes (2019), in 2017, African-Americans “captured 86% of the ethnic beauty market, accounting for 54$ million of the 62$ million spent”. Most brands perceive women of color as a niche and not part of the mass market. When releasing a makeup line, they are often an afterthought and considered as a category on their own. A category that needs extra work and a different vision. The problem often manifests itself in the lack of shades in foundations, concealers, and bronzers, as recently seen in the makeup releases with Ilia, Nudestix, Catrice, and more. But, how is it possible that in 2020, black women/men still struggle to find their foundation shades or an appropriate bronzer that can appear on their skin tone.
In an article written by Holmes (2019), a Sudanese Model reveals how she always has to bring her own makeup products to set whereas her white counterparts only need to show up to photoshoots with no requirements. She also reveals her struggle to find a foundation shade that matches her skin tone.
Most brands think that the market for a diverse shade range is not there which is obviously not the case. It is important for brands to advertise their extended shade range. To let the targeted market know they can find what they are looking for in their store. The issue is that most brands just don’t. A lot of brands don’t do any marketing or advertising around it. Black women/ men would buy their products if only they marketed it well. For instance, Fenty Beauty made 72million dollar of earned media and was constantly sold out. That’s because the brand marketed its products perfectly well.
“According to a report conducted in 2016, just 22% of the models featured in ads in the UK and US were ethnic (black, Asian, Hispanic) while the rest (78%) were white.” (Fleming, 2019).
Of course, the issue does not only lie in makeup products, “diversity cannot start and finish with an advert or a social media post in order for it to resonate with the customer” (Maddie Saunders, brand leader for Lush Makeup). Most companies, as seen in the pull-up or shut up movement, show a lack of diversity in their workforce and in their leadership teams. “Your workforce needs to reflect your customer base and if you want all women to wear your products then you have to have all women in the boardroom, all women on the shop floor, all women in the lab. That’s how you get those diverse ranges out” (Fleming, 2018).
With a diverse team, you can easily create diverse products that target different races and guide the brand towards a better future. Women or men of color are never given the same work opportunities as their non-black counterparts. They are often marginalized and forgotten. This issue manifests itself in social media as well, with influencers. Black influencers are never given the same opportunities to work with brands as white influencers do. They are always considered a category that doesn’t “fit” with the brand.
The makeup industry is not the only industry that showcases a lack of inclusivity, the skincare industry is also to blame. In fact, sunscreens are one of the products that still struggle to cater to consumers with deeper skin tones. Black women and men still struggle to find sunscreens that leaves no white cast. And because of that, they are pushed back from wearing sunscreen, even though it is an essential product in a skincare routine. Beyond that, people with darker skin tones experience different types of skin issues unique to their skin tone, like hyperpigmentation, yet the skincare industry chooses not to answer these concerns. According to Hickman (2019), there’s a serious lack in research and development in the skincare world.
Now, there’s no doubt that the beauty (skincare and makeup) has evolved since the 1950s. In fact, we now can find extensive foundation shades, inclusive makeup campaigns, tinted sunscreens, and more. Moreover, this movement has definitely been popularized and black women/men are now more included in the industry. As a matter of fact, the beauty industry is an industry that is very quick to answer to social norms and demands but according to Shapiro (2018), a lot of influential makeup artists agree that this is just the start of complete inclusivity and we need to do more.
Now, there’s a lot of things one can do to improve the industry and that is coming from many content creators I follow on Instagram (black and non-black). First of all, it is important, on one hand, to support black-owned beauty brands like Briogero or Juvia’s Place. On the other hand, it is important to stop supporting brands that showcase racist and uninclusive behaviors. A major difference can only come if you choose to stop giving your money to horrible brands that chose to be racist and instead, give it to brands that actually deserve it.
Second of all, it is important to speak up and call out brands who are doing wrong. I absolutely loved the pull-up or shut up movement. It’s a movement that encourages brands to share their percentage of black workers and their initiatives to change. Again, since the industry is quick to respond to social demands and is very present on social media, it is important to speak and not stay silent.
Hickman, J., (2019). Why diversity in the beauty industry is still a problem. Well+Good. Retrieved from https://www.wellandgood.com/diversity-in-the-beauty-industry/
Mika, (2019). Inclusivity in the beauty industry. The Modern East. Retrieved from https://www.moderneast.com/beauty/beauty-trends/inclusivity-beauty-industry-extended-shade-ranges-208848.html
Holmes, T. E., (2019). The Business of black beauty. Essence. Retrieved from https://www.essence.com/news/money-career/business-black-beauty/
Fleming, M. (2019). Why is the beauty industry still failing women of colours?. Marketing week. Retrieved from https://www.marketingweek.com/beauty-industry-failing-women-colour/
Shapiro, B., (2018). Beauty is more diverse than ever but is it diverse enough? The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/11/style/beauty-diversity.html
Youtube video: Skin Care is inclusive…or is it by Hyram
Inclusivity in the beauty industry
That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you did, don’t forget to give it a ‘like’ and to subscribe to my blog.